Goodwood closes its flexible membership category because it is too popular

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim November 1, 2016 12:18

One of the first golf clubs in the UK to set up a flexible membership policy has announced it is going to close it at the end of this year because it is now too popular.

Flexible memberships, in which golfers pay a relatively small amount of money to join the golf club, and then pay small amounts of money every time they play rounds of golf, have become a popular alternative to traditional memberships, in which golfers pay one lump sump for unlimited golf, in the last five years.

According to England Golf, 36 per cent of golf clubs now offer this policy.


Golf at Goodwood. Image by Paul Severn

Golf At Goodwood’s ‘Credit Membership’ scheme was introduced in 2006 and has seen a net gain of 600 members between 2014 and 2015 – a period when clubs across England saw a net loss of members. This year alone the club has been receiving an average of 30 applications for membership each month.

“This has successfully shown that having innovative, flexible schemes can encourage participation, even in difficult times,” said a spokesman.

“Despite membership difficulties for golf clubs, Goodwood’s Credit Membership has proven so popular that, as of 31 December, it will be closed with the club reaching its capacity.  The decision has been made in order to ensure that players still have the best possible golf experience and any new applications for membership will be asked to join a waiting list.”

The scheme has helped encourage women and young players to join Golf At Goodwood, with 331 of the current members being female and 88 juniors.

“Credit Membership has proven to be a flexible way for players to fit golf into their busy lives. After paying a small annual fee, members can then buy credits to redeem for tee times, guest games, buggies and lessons. These credits do not expire, providing the membership is renewed,” added the spokesman.

Member Brian Hardy said: “I doubt if I could justify annual membership at an equivalent members’ club on financial grounds. It is doubtful also if my senior colleagues, who might aspire to play three or four times a week all year round, can get the same value for money as myself. The credit system clearly suits the irregular golfer or busy professional with little leisure time for golf!”

Fellow member Philippa Pickavance agreed. She said: “The credit system at Goodwood – buying smallest amount first then topping up when needed – suits me as effectively I’ve become a ‘long distance member’ at what I consider to be a reasonable cost. Goodwood is great for a long weekend for us and the credits’ system also allows me to pay via credits for my other half to play and sometimes a couple of friends too.”


Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim November 1, 2016 12:18
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1 Comment

  1. Alan D Key November 10, 18:11

    I’d like to know from the clubs offering flexible memberships if their actual membership income is increasing due to these increase numbers. It’s pointless having twice as many members if they’re paying on average half as much, so anyone with experience of this I’d like to have a chat with you if possible!

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